Expanding the Reach for Mental Wellness for Better Performance in Sport & Life

COACHING VALUES

It’s much more than just the specific sport; it’s about reinforcing positive attitude and lessons for life.

What is your role in mental health as a Varsity-Level Coach?

Many Varsity coaches struggle to intervene as a mental health ally for their athletes because of numerous factors including a lack of professional mental health training, low confidence in using the appropriate language during an intervention, and an increasingly large amount of duties, responsibilities and athletes to oversee.

We know how difficult addressing mental health can be, and for that reason we have provided you with an easy framework to navigate you and your team through prevention and intervention.

Our Approach

 

In this athlete-centered approach, we propose an integrated framework to connect athletes with the appropriate mental health circle of care. The coach accomplishes this by using their team allies (ie. assistant coaches, team captains, teammates, athletic therapists). The role of the coach is therefore twofold:

  1. Being a Mental Health Champion (Prevention)
  2. Being a Hub of Resources (Intervention)

The Coach’s Role: A Mental Health Champion (MHC)

The MHC is a preventative role where the coach focuses on creating a transparent team culture where mental health is openly discussed, accepted as a serious reality, and is addressed with patience, compassion, and empathy. Creating an environment where athletes feel courageous to share their stories, use appropriate mental health language and recognize and intervene when they see a teammate struggle can be effective in early intervention and reducing time off the field of play. This can be achieved by:

  • Addressing mental health openly pre-season, and frequently throughout the season
  • Creating opportunities for athletes to discuss and address their/each other’s mental health

The Coach’s Role: Hub of Resources

Understanding your university’s mental health allies is the simple most effective thing you can do as a coach for your athlete’s mental health. Remember, you do NOT have to have mental health training, you do NOT have to be your athlete’s counselor. Your job to understand the resources and referral process for your athletes, and empower your team allies to refer athletes as well.